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Visa, Mastercard Swipe Fees Hit Record $100 Billion in 2023

Visa, Mastercard Swipe Fees Hit Record $100 Billion in 2023

Visa, Mastercard Swipe Fees Hit Record $100 Billion in 2023

Just this Easter, Swipe fees will cost consumers more than $500 million.

March 19, 2024

In 2023, American merchants were charged $7.5 billion more for credit cards with Visa and Mastercard logos, reaching a total of $100.77 billion in swipe fees, the Merchants Payments Coalition (MPC) announced in a press release. This marks the first time in history that Visa and Mastercard credit card swipe fees have surpassed the $100 billion mark.

According to the MPC, total swipe fees, including from debit cards, topped $172 billion, compared to $160 billion in 2022. Of that figure, more than $132 billion in swipe fees were from debit and credit cards bearing the Visa or Mastercard logos.

“Once again, Main Street merchants and consumers were hit with a new record for swipe fees in 2023,” said Christine Pollack, vice president of government relations for FMI—The Food Industry Association. “Last year, Visa and Mastercard fixed the banks’ prices to the tune of more than $100 billion in credit card swipe fees. That is an awful toll for Main Street businesses and their customers to bear.”

The rising fees that big banks and credit card networks charge merchants are poised to cost consumers more than $500 million this Easter alone. The National Retail Federation’s annual survey shows that consumers will spend an average $177 on Easter-related items this year, for a total of $22.4 billion.

“Swipe fees will add to the cost of Easter baskets and everything in them once again this year,” MPC Executive Committee member and National Grocers Association Senior Vice President of Government Relations and Counsel Christopher Jones said. “Whether it’s Easter eggs, chocolate bunnies or Peeps, the credit card industry takes a piece of every purchase. If merchants agreed on the price of Easter eggs, we’d be accused of price fixing, but that’s exactly what Visa and Mastercard do in setting the swipe fees charged by banks that issue cards under their names. It’s time for Congress to end swipe fee price fixing and require the credit card industry to compete the same way merchants compete every day.”

Based on the 2.24% average swipe fee for Visa and Mastercard credit cards, $3.96 per shopper will go to banks and card networks rather than the merchant when customers pay by credit card. 

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Richard Durbin (D-Ill), one of the lead sponsors of the Credit Card Competition Act, has scheduled a hearing on the lack of competition over swipe fees. In addition, Senators Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo) have recently added their names as cosponsors of the bill, which would force Visa and MasterCard to compete with additional payment networks.

TFFA members are encouraged to reach out to their members of Congress and ask that they support the Credit Card Competition Act. NACS has made it easy for retailers and suppliers to send a message to their legislators via the NACS Grassroots Portal.

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